MEET Lexi Devlin, ten years old, glorious gold-red hair and a dazzling smile.

In the words of her mother, young Lexi is a force of nature.

“Lexi has a very unusual genetic condition – usually it’s passed on through the parents, but neither of us have the gene, so she is different, a true one-off,” laughs Jacqueline.

Lexi has Crouzon Syndrome, which means she has some facial disfigurement and difficulties with speech. She is also partially deaf, and has autism, which means life for the Dennistoun family – mum Jacqueline and dad, Brian and little brother Leighton, who is six, can sometimes be a challenge.

“Lexi is unpredictable, particularly in big, crowded areas, and a real character,” explains Jacqueline. “We call her Diva Devlin. She was born screaming, and hasn’t stopped making an entrance ever since.

“Getting a break thanks to Glasgow Children’s Holiday Scheme is a godsend for us – it meant we could be together as a family, and have some fun, while the amazing staff there looked after us. Watching Lexi just have fun, was fantastic.”

For 60 years, Glasgow Children’s Holiday Scheme has been giving young people and families adventure, escape and the chance to explore new places.

The charity, which relies entirely on grant funding and donations, is looking for help.

Co-ordinator Douglas Wilson, explains: “Most of us take holidays for granted but for many, they are simply out of reach.

“It’s estimated around a third of children in Glasgow live in poverty, so for them, a few days at the seaside is out of the question.”

He adds: “Things are getting worse. Some of our families are telling us that even though we provide accommodation for a week for free, they can’t stay – because they simply can’t afford the food or extra costs for the time away.

“We are very concerned about the effects of Universal Credit on those families.”

GCHS was set up in the mid-50s by Gorbals community worker Lilias Graham. It now offers holidays at caravans in Wemyss Bay as well as with volunteer host families, and activity breaks for youth groups.

“Lilias was a visionary and her legacy lives on,” says Douglas. “Every year, we arrange holidays for around 500 children and young people from the greater Glasgow area.

“We are always looking for funding - £10 can provide toys for a caravan; £50 enables a family to go on one of our caravan breaks, £100 would provide transport and £5000 pays for siting and maintenance of a caravan for a full year, enabling around 80 children to have a holiday.”

He adds: “We are also hoping more people will support us by opening up their homes to a child or family for a week or two in the summer. They don’t have to be a million miles from Glasgow, just somewhere with some space for children to escape to and have some fun.”

Caroline McGrevey and her family have had a tough couple of years.

“I was diagnosed with post-natal depression last February, and my husband had to have surgery on his spine,” she explains. “Doctors discovered tumours, which were benign, and he had to have them removed. It took him a while to recover, and all the while, I was trying to cope with this terrible depression. It took the wind from our sails.”

Caroline and Kevin and their two children Erin, five, and one-year-old Dominic were referred to GCHS by Quarrier’s charity, which was supporting the Springboig family.

“Both Kevin and I have mild disabilities, although we do not consider ourselves disabled,” explains Caroline. “We’re quite proud, we don’t really want to ask for help – we try to sort things out ourselves.

“We’ve had a rough time of it because of ill health recently, through one thing or another, and it has been hard.

“I’m the kind of person who puts on a happy face, whatever’s happening. I smile to hide whatever is going on and when I was diagnosed with post natal depression, I just kept trying to smile through it.

“It was a shock, I had sudden, very vivid troubling images that I found hard to cope with. But now I am getting support and counselling to help me through and it’s making a huge difference.”

She adds: “The holiday – we went with my mum and dad Valerie and Stan – was a relief. We got to spend time together, do things we hadn’t done before, and we had a ball.

“The charity is fantastic. We never thought we’d need anything like this, we consider ourselves very lucky in life and happy. But when times got tough for us, they were there for us.”

She adds: “And on holiday, all the smiles were absolutely genuine.”